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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 26, 2009 3:30pm-4:00pm EDT

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communities large and small. available for public transportation $8.4 billion and we view that as an extraordinary opportunity. án)d℠rr rr
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systems that serve more passengers annually than amtrak to the smallest rural >> florida dot plans to use its recovery act funds to relocate and construct a new greyhound facility at the miami mobile center which will provide important intercity connection and improvements to safety, the environment as well as economic benefits. by contrast, in aiken, south carolina, the lower savanna council government plans to support its united we ride mobility for all americans in michigan is by using recovery act funds to build a new facility that will house its travel management ordination center. this is the kind of project data really focused on role residents and the elderly in helping them get to medical appointments and elsewhere. really given the daunting challenge of reaching all these, we have been using every tool in our arsenal to reach each and every grantee can put the recovery act funds to work. we are using our website, agency guidance, regionals, regional training of fta staff.
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and sometimes we just get on the phone and walk our grantees to the process by step by step by step because that's what necessary. and in that regard, mr. chairman, i cannot overstate how proud we are be extremely hard work of the fda staff in putting this money to work, especially in our 10 regions but around the country they have been working morning, noon, and like to make sure these dollars are being put to work properly. this constant collaboration between fda and transit providers is implementable in keeping us on track. of the 8.3 billion funded 1.74 billion, or to what one person has been obligated so far. and another for .1 billion, or 50%, are in process of obligation in the near term. i'm informed as i was coming over here that we are hopeful of obligating another couple hundred million dollars just today. these figures equate to about 19000 jobs, currently obligated
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and another 45000 jobs for the grants in process. in addition, $55 million in recovery act funds have been transferred from the federal highway administration to fta for public transportation projects. these transfers reflect local decisions by state and municipalities to use recovery act highway funds or transit projects instead. tranter estimates based on the grants that approximate 4000 new transit vehicles will be purchased or on order by the september. all of these vehicles will comply with the buy america act. the vehicle purchasers will also serve as an important shot in the arm for our manufacturing sector. in fact, minnesota is a very good example. the metropolitan council in minneapolis has requested just short of 50 million in recovery act funds to purchase 31 standard 40-foot buses, 30 hybrid buses, toy articulated buses and 16 small 30 for buses.
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similarly links in orlando ford has requested recovery act funds to buy 61 buses at a cost of $8.6 billion. i think that's part of what is missed. you talked about the sand and gravel bloke calling people back to work. we have a situation where we have bus manufacturing lines that are hot and are staying hot, these grants are coming. knowing that the orders are coming. when we purchased a bus, we don't ask the grantee to give all the money up front. they outlay the money to the grantee when the bus is delivered. that is not to say that people aren't working on that manufacturing line. the outlays come when the bus is delivered. so i think that's an important point over on the overall issue of outlays. the only thing i would add, mr. chairman, is consistent with your guidance on reporting requirements. we are adhering to each and every element of both the letter and spirit of that law. we have a good system in place. we feel that the grantees are cooperating. like i said, they have various levels of sophistication, but
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where are they our computers we are helping them. so i think we are on track. thanks very much. >> thank you. that's an excellent report. very uplifting, and i will return to the subject, the process in the time reserved for questioning. the acting deputy administrator, federal highway administration. >> chairman, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the federal highway administration's progress in implementing the recovery act. through the recovery act fhwa is playing a key role in playing jobs. the administration estimates of the highway portion alone other recovery act will create or sustain close to 300,000 jobs by 2012. it is provided a lifeline for americans who work in construction and have been especially hard hit by the recession. on march 3, president obama and vice president biden joined secretary lahood at dot to
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announce that $26.6 billion was available to states for highway investment. and within hours of the president's announcement, fhwa began to approve projects. as of yesterday, fhwa division offices have authorized more than 5000 projects in all 50 states, dc and the territories, for a total of $15.7 billion, which represents 59% of total funds available. i am proud to say this would not have happened without the strong commitment of the fhwa employees. they have worked hard for many months, even before the act was passed to ensure that we would be ready to implement the legislation swiftly and efficiently. in passing the recovery act, congress emphasized the need to rapidly infuse these funds into the economy, requiring that 50% of the funds apportioned to the state must be obligated under a project agreement by june 29. i am very pleased to report that all states have met the target, at least 10 days in advance of
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the deadline as the administration will announce today. we are also hearing good news from states that projects are running ahead of schedule and under budget. by stretching recovery dollars, states are able to complete additional projects and create even more jobs. project approvals are only part of the story. we need to get projects underway to put people back to work. as of june 19, there are more than 1500 highway projects underway in 45 states, dc, and on federal lands. utilizing more than $5 billion in recovery act funds. we estimate that these projects alone will yield over 15000 job years. fhwa is distributing $550 million for roads on federal and tribal land. this funding is creating jobs and improving access to our national treasures. for instance, we have advanced projects such as a reconstruction of the go into the sun road in montana's glacier national park, and the
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rehabilitation of roadways within yosemite national park in california. the recovery act is working for america. every new project we obligate is a signal for state to advertise contracts and for contractors to begin hiring workers and ordering materials like steel, asphalt and concrete. we are making investments in projects that will save lives. we are making investment in our highway system that will help it operate more efficiently and effectively while moving to people and goods we need to keep the economy healthy. it is not only important to get the money out quickly, we must get it out in the right way. the agency continues to focus on reporting and management of the risks associated with such a large investment of dollars in transportation. the public needs to know what their money is buying, and the fhwa has moved forward aggressively to fulfill the president's commitment to transparency and accountability. i recovery act progress is on the front page of our website and is updated every day. we are providing detailed
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reports through to guide our oversight we are employing extensive risk management strategies at the local, state and national levels, including communication and education efforts, and our division office and national review teams are providing oversight. we are monitoring progress and risk by analyzing data we have received to identify trends or problem areas and making real-time corrections as needed. successful deployment of highway dollars under the recovery act will remain a top priority at fhwa as we continue to work to deliver recovery act funds and get america's economy moving again. mr. chairman, this concludes my remarks and i will be happy to answer your questions. >> thank you very much for the wealth of detail. appreciate your presentation. and now mr. boardman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good morning to you and all the members. thank you for the invitation to testify to the committee. the companies in motion and work is underway, not only with the
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vast task of an oversight of both internal and external projects that will ultimately modernize and transform the amtrak system. we have been working closely with the federal railroad administration, and as the administrator said they have approved about 90% of the projects of our $1.3 billion slate. about 10% of the total is yet unapproved as those are security and safety projects that also require the approval of the department of homeland security. we've awarded about $41 million of the 1.3 billion, that we have received from the funding. but as i expect our spin rate will increase significantly in the coming months and we are preparing for that. we all know this is a complex and challenging process. i'm convinced that the rfi, rfp process does a good job of protecting taxpayers investment. those proceedings are deliberate and they are designed to be deliberate. we are solicitinsoliciting letters of interest in
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contractors to fix bridges. we discussed in april, and major projects that are in request proposal stage of the contracting process include several of the major tunnel, fire and light safety programs in new york. we also discussed in april. during the next 90 days we expect to award $190 million worth of projects that will be managed directly by the amtrak staff. among the latter are improvements to the fire standpipe systems in those tunnels and positive train control. since the hearing in april 29, work as a dance on two of the major projects we discussed last time around. the wilmington and the stanford stations. we program at stanford about two weeks after the last hearing and ranking member mica joined us to celebrate the complete renovation of the southern terminal, of our very successful and popular auto train service. projects that can be advanced without own workforce are another area we are making real progress we have added 222
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employees to our engineering force to deal with the expansion and right-of-way work on the northeast corner that begins next month. this will include improvements such as the ditch and drainage improvements, retaining wall upgrade, and improvements in design to improve the integrity of the roadbed along nearly 230 miles of the new york mid-atlantic and new england divisions. similarly, we are making good progress in our $100 million equipment planned. we do most of his work in house with an amtrak workforce. we've also existing agreements of inventory levels for parts. in some cases progress is still subject to the ability of suppliers to get us needed components, but we are moving ahead. era funding has allowed us to add 52 mechanical employees at our delaware facility. another 108 employees that are back shop in indiana. and i expect the workforce at these two facilities will be
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returning the first of the empty cars to service in the middle of july. in the first of the super lighters by the end of july. at the end of july, we intend to award a contract for a team of regional project managers who will manage a slate of 394 projects, with a total dollar value of 636 million across the country. many of these projects will be relatively small, and they will be excellent candidates for small business set asides. the regional project managers will oversee this effort and our expectation is that they will achieve the goals of expanding our outrage and relationships with small business and disadvantage is as enterprises. we have built a procurement website, procurement got where we advertise stimulus opportunities. i should note that some of the 1.3 billion the amtrak is investing will lay critical groundwork and provide long term benefits for the development of
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high speed rail. for example, the 10 million we are investing in positive train control on our michigan line. there are a couple of quarters that are ready to go and congress and the administration had challenged us not just to get the work done but to produce measurable results. this is a real challenge and we are going to do our part to advance a. nobody out there knows as much about making high speed service a reality under north american conditions than we do. and i think the men and women of amtrak have earned the chance that we now have. that chance to help bring the next big improvement in rail service. i learned on my recent 9000-mile trip on amtrak trains that amtrak is unique. for both a company and we're a mode of travel. and i often found that much of that latent desire and hope, people feel for passenger service is vested in amtrak. and they are willing to go along way to help out and read a bill
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taking stations and providing host at many of our stations to help travelers. and as enthusiastic as the people who have train service are, i found that the people who don't have service but when it are even more enthusiastic and hopeful. they are tireless advocates, and they are a real inspiration. the transformational vision for passenger rail service in the united states takes teamwork and focus from all. we pledged to work with all who want to improve passenger rail, and we thank this committee for their support. >> thank you for it much, mr. boardman. that's a very encouraging report as well. and certainly there's a great deal of progress being made. you've laid out an excellent agenda of actions already taken, those that are underway, and those that are plan. i'm glad you had the groundbreaking for the auto
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train terminal. some 20 plus years ago. my late wife and i and our children took that trip. i think we're one of the first ones to ride, the first month or so, to ride the auto train to florida. it was quite an impressive experience, see the cars rolling off the trains. you get out and drive on to your next destination. and it's good to see that it's been so successful that it needs renovation. i think mr. mica was there to dissipate in that event. you mentioned positive train control, investing some $10 million, ptc, that's under the recovery act? the. >> yes, sir. >> could you list for us the company or companies that are producing ptc technology and how
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many jobs are resulting from network? >> the specificity of the ptc i may not be able to give you the jobs. the total amount when we put this together the first year was going to be 4600 jobs for all what we're going to be the first year, and the total for the whole package in two years was 8000 jobs. so i don't have it broken down that way today that we can provide that to you. on the positive train control, we are doing about three different things here. one is that we are extending our access system which is the advanced civil enforcement train control that exists already on the northeast corridor. another is that we are expanding the ici s. michigan line where we get a system with illinois and with lockheed martin. and then on the platform that today will be the gps base, there are a couple of different suppliers.
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one of them being web tech and we're working with all the freight railroads to make sure we have interoperability between them and us. >> i asked the question because it's important in the total accounting of jobs created by this investment. it's important to follow the line, the supply chain back from the job site. because those are jobs that didn't exist either. >> yes, sir. >> before this recovery funding. i recall so well just a month after the president signed the recovery act. a young civil engineer, my home town of chesapeake moved away and got his degree in engineering and found work with a civil engineering company doing highway design work.
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and he came into the office here to see me and said i want to thank you and the congress, the president, because i'm back at work. i had been working for a year with this company, but was laid off in the recession took hold. but now before any projects were under way, the company called me back, said we know we are going to have a number of projects to bid on and we need to put you to work. it just turned out he had a weeks vacation time coming after being back on the job. so he took his wife out to washington. but that's being repeated all over the country. and i want those jobs accounted for as well. and we know you are going to do that.
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mr. paniati, this is what i was talking about. this is the flash drive. so those computer device, about the size of my thumb, just fits into your computer. and i won't bore anybody by calling it up on the screen, but this is what it produces. this is what the state of minnesota uses in the field. the county engineer gathers information, interested on his computer, sin cit sends it intoe state dot instantaneously and then they send that information each month into u.s. dot, federal highway, to us. here it is, pages and pages, documentation, projects and construction, construction status, projects and planning, and their location, county,
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state, county state highway 10. and what's underway at the time. so when i hear complaints that there is such a burden of paperwork, i just want to repeat it. i have no patience for those who have been given hundreds of millions of dollars, hundred% federal funding to put people to work and complaint about paperwork. baloney. its electronic work, and if that's burdensome, then those complainers need to get a number to show in their head and go out on a job site and start shoveling and get a callous on the hand instead of the complaint in their outbox. i have no patience for that at all. just briefly, mr. rogoff, administrator rogoff, described step-by-step the process from
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notification from office of management and budget to dot, dot to federal highway, federal transit administration, and they are on through, you described a little process, part of that process. you said the outlay occurs when money is transferred to the grantee when the bus is delivered. that is the point of outlay. but the process is already started. so i want you to walk us through the procedure that is followed. step one. >> specifically for a vehicle purchase, since that's what i focused on in that instance, i grantee will come forward, dallas-based. >> the grantee being lex. >> urbanize, non-urbanites and some cases state applicants who
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are applying for a universe of role providers. and they'll hurt us that their program of projects will include vehicle purchases. we go ahead and approve that grant at that point when we approve the grant is obligated. >> so you set aside some millions of dollars. >> right. we reserve the fund in our system. we have an automated so-called team system which is a computerized system, and the grantee's communicate with us through that system. we reserve the dollars. >> the transit agency has in effect receive the funds? >> when we obligated to have a green light to sign a contract. >> okay. >> they sign a contract either on behalf of their own transit agency or in some areas where we have had a great deal of success in getting economies of scale of our transit agencies they might team with other transit agencies for a bigger bus by.
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and each bus provider goes about the business of manufacturing those buses but as i'm sure you can appreciate, mr. chairman, we don't want to pay the manufacturer until they take delivery of the bus, have tested the bus, knows that buses comply with every element of the contract. only when they take delivery of that bus, and paid a contractor, the progress payment on the manufacture of that bus, only then does it come true to our system and we outlay it. so it really is at the end of the system, the end of the chain that would actually occur and outlay for a bus purchase. i think mr. paniati, and his instance it is even more noticeable because his program as you pointed out in your opening statement is done on reimbursement. the outlay actually occurs at the very end of the construction process. but i will let him speak to that if he wants to. >> will come to that in a moment. >> i'm sorry. >> i want to withhold my further
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questions at this point and go to mr. bozeman. thank you for taking a position of breaking member. mr. mika went off to other duties. >> thank you, mr. chairman. he is like the rest of us he has three places that he needs to be so i will yield to him at this time. >> thank you, boozman very much. to our distinct panel, take you for the work you are doing, but in particular to mr. babbitt, my congratulations on your confirmation and i certainly look forward to meeting with you in the near future and working with you very closely with our faa technical center. and i have a question for you, mr. babbitt, about you talk about 200 million in the f. i-india gather that it that it was going to go to three towers in 18 different centers i believe. would you be able to if not today at some point let us know
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who is on that list? i'd be curious to know who is going to be receiving the funding, and very specifically of course i have an interest in our faa technical center at the atlantic city airport which mr. oberstar knows i am very fond of saying is the premier facility in the world for aviation research and development for safety and security. and i'm just curious whether they might be in line for any rehabilitation funding for the labs or any of the other facilities there. >> first, thank you for the congratulations. i look forward to working with you as well. candidly, i don't know the specific breakdown, but i surely could get that information to you. i share your view on the technical center. i have recently visited one of our technical centers. we're going to be calling on them for some of the advancements we are make in right now. we have a lot of new technology that we are trying to deploy, and the technical center is the birthplace of much of that
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technology. so i share your view and i will certainly get you that information. >> okay. appreciate you getting back to me, and began looking for to working with you. thank you, mr. boozman. and thank you mr. oberstar. >> thank you. will now go to mr. defazio, chair of our transit and highway subcommittee. >> mr. chairman, i do have questions, but since i'm going to assume the chair when you leave in a little bit i will defer to other members. >> mr. brown. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you for holding this hearing because i voted for this gentleman and i think that canada is a major part as we move forward with other transportation bill. but i have a question for mr. boardman. mr. boardman, you know, for so i want to thank you for the leadership that you have provided in and track content and amtrak. certain i was at the announcement week we announced the sanford project and the
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wilmington project, and i think i came to a total of 25 million. and today, we have announced a total of 41 million. i guess my question is, we have another 16 million that pot and then we're looking at another 190 projects. you know, amtrak has needed or eight years, we struggled with zero funding and now we finally got the funds and in no you've got to handle it in a proper manner, but can you give us a status report as to how amtrak has been able to use those additional stimulus dollars? >> certainly. congresswoman, i appreciate your support and your kind comments. one of the things that we are doing right now is a lot of the work and house, and i reported a little while ago how many additional jobs we applied to our facility, art facility in
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beech grove indiana. and we expect to start producing the cars out of their mid-july. and so many of those dollars are actually, and the chairman talk about is a little bit earlier, some of them are now not charged back yet so there's actually more dollars out there that are in the works about people have not charged us back for the part, and so on and so forth. some of the big projects like this niantic bridge which is a hundred $90 billion project is coming along very soon and within the next 90 days or so we see about another $190 million worth of projects. at the same time, we have a lot of very small projects across the country that we need specific management of, or $600 million worth of those small projects. and we have a list of those all on our website. many of them have to do with stations and improvements under ada. many of them are going to make it much easier for our customers to use the service. so you are going to see that stand out much more rapidly i


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